The expansion of 5G serves as the basis for the digitalization of many areas of life and ensures that mobile data is transmitted even faster. This is because 5G technology is the first generation of networks which makes nearly real-time data transfers possible. And streaming films in high resolution on your smartphone is by far not the only benefit – 5G brings numerous advantages for everyday life and Industry 4.0. Dominique Leroy, Board Member for Europe, shares an update how Deutsche Telekom’s national companies are bringing mobile networks throughout Europe to the next level.
Ten countries – one goal
Now, the 5G rollout in the European countries where we are present varies due to many reasons, for example due to the timing and conditions of spectrum auctions or regulations. Don´t forget that while Germany is a segment on its own, the Europe segment of Deutsche Telekom includes ten countries. Here, in total we are making good progress. We have now already achieved a population coverage of 47 percent overall throughout our national companies in Europe. By the end of 2023 we are targeting 65 percent.
Let’s take a closer look. Greece is a frontrunner, where our overall population coverage with 5G is over 80 percent, while in Athens we have already reached 97 percent and in Thessaloniki 90 percent. On top of that, according to global speedtest leader Ookla, COSMOTE has the fastest mobile network in Greece for the sixth consecutive year and was recently praised for its voice and data services by the internationally recognized network benchmarking company umlaut. In Montenegro, we see 70 percent coverage of the population. We are the leading provider in North Macedonia in terms of 5G coverage, with 60 percent of the population in overall 27 cities, and we are aiming at 70 percent by the end of this year. In Poland, our aim by the end of 2023 is at almost 60 percent population coverage. Austria, with its more than 2.500 5G sites, has 56 percent. Our mobile network there won the last test by Connect and umlaut with an outstanding result. In Croatia, it is 51 percent of the population who have access to our 5G, with Hrvatski Telekom also having been awarded by Ookla for the fastest 5G network in the country. Slovakia’s 5G coverage just reached 40 percent and encloses most of the major cities. Also in Czechia, Ookla praised our efforts for the best and fastest mobile network with best coverage. Hungary nearly doubled its outdoor residential 5G coverage last year. As a result of the modernization of stations up to 60 percent, opportunities for future service expansion arise. In Romania, we will start with 5G this year.
Securing frequencies for the future
We are following a clear spectrum strategy in all markets which aims to secure spectrum for 5G and for further network capacity for the benefit of our customers with best-in-class performance and top products and services. In nearly all our NatCos, we secured 5G spectrum in the 700 MHz low band and the 3.6 GHz high band. In Greece and Croatia, we also acquired some mmWAVE (millimeter wave) spectrum to be used for innovations. In both markets trials with this spectrum are running or planned. In Montenegro the spectrum auction for 5G dedicated frequencies had successfully finished in December 2022, and we secured preconditions for long term leadership position by acquiring 10MHz on 700Mhz and 140Mhz on 3.x. We are eagerly waiting for the 3.x GHz auction in Poland which is due this year, after several delays.
Networks of tomorrow
Currently we are in the business development phase of new 5G services in areas like entertainment, mobility, education, medicine or art and see a rising number of 5G projects in our national companies. We organized the first digital art exhibition in Croatia based on 5G. COSMOTE in Greece has run a 5G ambulance trial, where 5G linked a doctor at the hospital with the staff and medical instruments on board. Hungary is testing 5G accelerated cars and put the 5G campus network slicing in operation by using Digital Twin technology. T-Mobile Czech recently launched a 5G campus network for the Toyota plant in Kolin.
Researchers are natural born frontrunners with the latest technologies like 5G. We have university campus cooperations in many countries like Austria or Poland. One of my highlights is a thrilling 5G partnership of T-Mobile with Czech University of Life Sciences. It’s a Smart Forest project. Here, with 5G and IoT we are transferring huge amounts of data to maintain biodiversity and water resources. In Croatia, after launching the first campus network in the country back in 2020 for the Zagreb Faculty of Electric Engineering and Computing, we just sealed the cooperation with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding which includes the research on the practical application of Smart Factory solutions based on 5G.
Making 5G affordable
Another good news for 5G in Europe: last October, we launched our T Phone and T Phone Pro throughout our European footprint. We are bringing the benefits of 5G into even more of our customers' pockets. With these smartphones, our customers can enjoy the possibilities of our ever-expanding 5G network, ranging from entertainment to countless digital products and services – at a very accessible price.
In conclusion, the expansion of 5G is paving the way for new possibilities and transforming the way we live and work. Despite variations in the rollout of 5G throughout the European countries where Deutsche Telekom is present, we are showing significant progress in making the networks of the future accessible to everyone.